Friday: Hili dialogue

July 12, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s FRIDAY, July 12, 2019—we missed a Friday the 13th by one day. Grania always celebrated Friday, as she didn’t work on the weekends.

It’s National Pecan Pie Day, celebrating a uniquely American and uniquely toothsome dessert, and Independence Days in Kiribati and São Tomé and Príncipe, celebrating the former’s independence from the UK in 1979 and the latter’s from Portugal in 1975.

Today’s Google Doodle takes us to a page about René Favaloro (click on screenshot), an Argentine cardiac surgeon who invented coronary artery bypass surgery, thereby saving the lives of millions of people. There should be the equivalent of a Nobel Prize in Medicine for someone who develops such life-saving techniques. Favolaro was born on this day in 1923.

First working in the Cleveland Clinic, Favalaro moved back to Argentina and devoted his life to working in his own clinic, and operating on many indigent patients. This benefactor of humanity, however, met a sad end. As Wikipedia reports,

By the year 2000, Argentina was submerged in an economic and political crisis, and the Favaloro Foundation was US$18 million in debt. On repeated occasions, Favaloro petitioned the Argentine government to aid the Foundation, but never received an official response. Nor would the director of the PAMI public medical insurance agency, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, agree to pay the agency’s debt to the Foundation. On July 29 of that year, Favaloro died by suicide by shooting himself in the chest.

Following his suicide, it was revealed that he had written a letter to Argentine President Fernando de la Rúa, that had never been read, in which he expressed being tired of “being a beggar in his own country,” and asked for de la Rúa’s help to raise money to help the Foundation.

Here’s an Argentine stamp depicted Favolaro and his procedure:

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 1543 – King Henry VIII of England marries his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, at Hampton Court Palace.

Parr outlived Henry by a year, dying in childbirth in 1547, only 36 years old.

  • 1562 – Fray Diego de Landa, acting Bishop of Yucatán, burns the sacred books of the Maya.
  • 1776 – Captain James Cook begins his third voyage.

Cook was killed in a skirmish with Hawaiians on February 14, 1779—in a bay where I recently snorkeled.

  • 1962 – The Rolling Stones perform their first concert, at London’s Marquee Club.
  • 1975 – São Tomé and Príncipe declare independence from Portugal.
  • 1979 – The island nation of Kiribati becomes independent from the United Kingdom.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1890 – Egon Schiele, Austrian soldier and painter (d. 1918)

Schiele is one of my favorite painters, but I could not find any representation of a cat in his oeuvre (if you can find one, let me know). However, here’s his wonderful “Self Portrait with Raised Bared Shoulder”, from 1912.

Schiele died of “Spanish flu” in 1918, the same year that my paternal grandmother died in the same pandemic. He was only 28.

Others born on this day include:

  • 1897 – Anthony Eden, English soldier and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1977)
  • 1899 – Fritz Albert Lipmann, German-American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1986)
  • 1899 – Weegee, Ukrainian-American photographer and journalist (d. 1968)
  • 1929 – Anne Frank, German-Dutch diarist; victim of the Holocaust (d. 1945)
  • 1941 – Chick Corea, American pianist and composer
  • 1962 – Jordan Peterson, Canadian psychologist, professor and cultural critic

Those who snuffed it on this day include:

  • 1957 – Jimmy Dorsey, American saxophonist, composer, and bandleader (The Dorsey Brothers and The California Ramblers) (b. 1904)
  • 1963 – Medgar Evers, American soldier and activist (b. 1925)
  • 1972 – Edmund Wilson, American critic, essayist, and editor (b. 1895)
  • 1983 – Norma Shearer, Canadian-American actress (b. 1902)
  • 1998 – Leo Buscaglia, American author and educator (b. 1924)
  • 2003 – Gregory Peck, American actor and political activist (b. 1916)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a hard choice:

A: Patě or cream?
Hili: Cream first and then we will see.

In Polish:

Ja: Pasztet czy śmietanka?
Hili: Najpierw śmietanka, a potem zobaczymy.

Reader David, having seen the cherry shaped like a duck, sent a picture of a muffin shaped like an elephant:

Another FB meme:

And a cute contribution from Merilee:

Here’s another of the Lost Tweets of Grania Spingies, this one a thread of mushrooms. These are the first two tweets in the thread:

From reader Barry, we have a tweet by FFRF lawyer Andrew Seidel (whose new book I recently discussed with him in a public forum), beefing about how badly Fox News treated him. You can see a whole thread-reader collection of Andrew’s responses here. BTW, his book, The Founding Myth, is well worth reading.

A tweet from Nilou: fashion imitates life—badly:

Two cat tweets from Heather Hastie:

Cat pets fish:

Tweets from Matthew. Look at the head of this fly! Look at it!!!

I haven’t yet read this paper, but if it’s true it’s incredible. Natural selection can do anything.

I think I’ve seen this chillest of cats before, but I can’t remember where.


And do you remember this movie, released on this day 22 years ago? I saw it only last year, and thought it was very good, though not a masterpiece (some of the acting was cheesy:


18 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. If you have not been, the Leopold Museum in Wien is worth visiting as they have a large Egon Schiele collection.

    1. Yes, I like the movie quite a bit but I was a bit annoyed with the pointed respect given to religion, largely achieved via the Palmer Joss character. Unwelcome indeed.

      I also thought the Tom Skerritt character was a bit over-baked. Not uncommon for him and on full display in Contact.

  2. I’ve read the book of Contact and seen the film. They’re both…quite good.

    David Deutsch has a long spiel in one of his books about how lazy and cheap most sci-fi is. His position is that ‘hard’ sci-fi is the best and that the closer you get to the real rules of physics the more immersive the story. I don’t agree, although, as always, he makes a lot of fascinating points along the way.

    Personally I like some kind of balance between the known and the unknown, between scientific realism and fantasy.
    I find films or books that allow themselves to be too constrained by real world physics might as well not be sci-fi at all.

    Besides, films that make a big deal about their scientific realism just get pulled apart by people afterwards, eg. Interstellar(which, ending/lego-robot-helper aside, really was pretty scientifically credible).

    1. Interesting. I guess it all depends on what a given person means by “best.” I’ve been an avid science fiction reader all my life and I don’t think that hard sci-fi is the best at all. By best I mean well written, well constructed, a good story and riveting (in other words something I have trouble putting down).

      I like hard sci-fi just fine, love it, but best (my interpretation of best) it isn’t. I’d say the majority of hard sci-fi often suffers in all aspects of story-telling via the written word. Most often the author has a clever bit of engineering or physics they wish to hilight and the entire story is created around that “punch-line.” This can be made to work, by the best authors, but more often it comes off as clunky, rudimentary and unbelievable no matter how accurate the physics is.

      I don’t think that being as realistic as possible with the physics of the story-world is the primary appeal of the genre of science fiction. Not for the readers or the authors. The primary appeal I think is the same as most other genres, to simply tell the best story you can. The added appeal of science fiction is the larger context and the freedom to create and explore new ideas of all kinds, from science to sociality.

      Most of my favorite science fiction, or perhaps science fantasy, is what many would categorize as space opera. Like David Brin’s Uplift novels. And the Exordium series by Sherwood Smith & Dave Trowbridge. But then, there’s no accounting for taste. 🙂

      1. I’d agree with pretty much everything there.

        There’s a reason people don’t try their hand at hard sci-fi that often, and it’s not just because you need to have some background knowledge in the first place: it’s because it places severe constraints on your imagination as a writer, and letting your imagination run free is a big chunk of the appeal of writing sci-fi in the first place.

        I guess I like the ‘big ideas’ approach to sci-fi: the quotidian pedantry of hard sci fi isn’t appealing.
        Give me a central idea that’s grand and philosophically interesting and I don’t really care about whether the version of teleportation in the film wouldn’t work in real-life, or whether the protagonist’s cloaking device is unrealistic.

        Besides, these days the magic words in mainstream cinema are ‘quantum mechanics’. Having your characters mumble something about QM lets you get away with so much bollocks in modern sci-fi. It’s Hollywoo.

  3. One thing that is a good signal for whether a sci-fi film/tv series/game is taking the ‘sci-‘ part seriously is whether they just invent some kind of ‘gravity pump’ that lets everybody walk normally in spaceships instead of floating around.
    If they do then it’s pretty likely that they just don’t give a shit about that side of things, and you’re in for a lot of lazy tropes, and probably some aliens that look remarkably like human actors with purple face-paint.

  4. 1962 – The Rolling Stones perform their first concert, at London’s Marquee Club.

    Rolling Stones? Rolling Stones? … hmmmm … oh, yeah, I remember: bunch o’ homely guys, were the house band at the Crawdaddy Club. Shame they never made it to the big time.

  5. Is there not a calendar day goes by without some happening of dear King Henry VIII? Or so it would seem at times,

  6. Schiele’s work is incredible and beautiful. I started to look at his work after seeing this post this morning. I was looking through and then looking to see if there were any cats. I was and am overwhelmed by all of his work. I found a greyhound, a horse, and possibly a cat. It looks like the woman in the third piece might be resting her head on a cat. I am not sure, though. It seems very open to interpretation. I couldn’t find any cats other than possibly that one. All of them are incredibly beautiful and powerful.

    Egon Schiele, Woman with Greyhound (also known as Edith Schiele)

    Egon Schiele, Plakat (Pferd Und Reiter)

    Egon Schiele, Crouching female nude with bended head, 1918

    1. I can see that.

      This one below looks like an actual bird to me. Her face would be the end of the bill and the black half oval shape is the eye.

      Cardinal and Nun (Caress)
      Egon Schiele1912

      This one is very beautiful also.

  7. I was surprised that Andrew Seidel said he did not see the presidents prayer sessions with Christian preachers in the White House to be a violation of the 1st Amendment. He said it could be if government resources were being used. Well, I can understand that, I guess, but it is bothersome that they don’t at least include several religions in these sessions, as well as a token atheist. The way it is, it seems like a blatant endorsement of Christianity by the office of the president.

  8. “Grania always celebrated Friday, as she didn’t work on the weekends.”

    I don’t post here often, but I read here often. I’d just like to say how much I enjoy comments like this that keep Grania very much part of the WEIT community.

  9. Jerry- you went to the Very Large Array wen you were visiting New Mexico, right? Scenes from the movie Contact (mentioned above) were filmed there.

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